Label 5 “Gold Heritage”

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Score: 92/100

ABV: 40%

Origin: Scotland

Label 5 is a brand of blended Scotch whisky that is owned by French company La Martiniquaise. Malt Mileage has been very fortunate to secure four bottles from the Label 5 range – “Classic Black”, “12 year old”, “18 year old” and “Gold Heritage”. In this review Malt Mileage tastes the Label 5 “Gold Heritage”.

Label 5’s Master Blender, Graham Coull, says that the Label 5 “Gold Heritage” is a “personal achievement” for him, because this whisky is comprised of whiskies from different casks and of different ages that he has personally hand selected and married together.

On the nose the whisky offers the mild aroma of mossy and grassy peat that is softened by the sweetness of dark berries, rich golden honey, toffee, vanilla and caramelized peaches and apricots with cinnamon. On the palate the whisky is immediately salty with that mossy and grassy peat travelling seamlessly from the nose, but this time to balance out the peat are dried fruits and dark chocolate coated raisins with hints of vanilla, peppermint crisp and mild surges of spice. The finish is increasingly oak driven, with rich cherry liqueur filled dark chocolate, mild anise seed and a sweetness that shines through bitter dusty cocoa in a similar way to the taste of rose flavoured Turkish delight rocky road that is made with the darkest chocolate.  Despite the woody finish, there is not a semblance of misplaced tannin. The whole journey, from nose to finish, is superbly balanced and absolutely delicious.

Make no mistake, Label 5 “Gold Heritage” clearly comes across as a whisky that has been painstakingly crafted with care. It is smooth and balanced, projecting rich flavours that result from the harmonious marriage of peat, fruit, oak and spice.  This is a throw the cap in the fire kind of whisky, best enjoyed with your feet up while watching a good movie or gazing at the stars with a big fat Cuban cigar. Magic.

Label 5 12 year old

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Score: 93/100

ABV: 40%

Origin: Scotland

Price: $44.90 (Aus)

Make no mistake, the whisky market is hot. Over the last few years demand for whisky seems to have skyrocketed. Only a few years ago spending more than $100 on a bottle of booze may have raised some eyebrows, but nowadays copious amounts of money are being spent on bottles of whisky. In response to this boom in whisky demand the market has been flooded with a tsunami of whisky and single malts from different parts of the world, many of which seem ridiculously overpriced. The French company La Martiniquaise is contributing to that big boozy tsunami with its Label 5 blended Scotch whisky range, but unlike most other whisky on the market Label 5 is darn good whisky at a darn good price! That is a rare thing, at least these days.

Malt Mileage has been very fortunate to secure four bottles from the Label 5 range – “Classic Black”, “12 year old”, “18 year old” and “Gold Heritage”. In this review Malt Mileage tastes the Label 5 12 year old which is a blend of malt and grain whiskies that have matured in oak casks for at least 12 years.

The bouquet bursts with integrated aromas that immediately whet the appetite – smoke and wisps of peat with herbs cut through peach, apricot and creamy vanilla with dusty powdered chocolate. On the palate the whisky is bigger and bolder than the nose suggests, as it whips the taste buds with orchard fruits, honey and heavy oak driven flavours of dark chocolate and rich black espresso.  The finish presents with a thin smoke and a film of creaminess that sits on the middle palate, lingering with fresh apricots and milk chocolate.

Overall, Label 5 12 year old is a very easy drinking and smooth blend that, despite its gentle and aromatic nose, offers a surprising whack of complex flavours on the palate. At its price, $44.90 in Australia, it is a whisky that I think is superb value. Finally, Johnnie Walker Black Label has some serious competition and in my opinion Label 5 12 year old wins.